Water color by Henry Fukuhara, an internee at Manzanar, who died this month at 96. Read about his remarkable life in the above references

February is one of those months with a number of remembrance days far in excess of its’ own scant days. Groundhogs, Valentines, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s birthday, Mardi Gras. Ash Wednesday, Purim.

I had a note from a student’s mother today reminding me that February 19th is the day in 1942 on which Executive Order 9066 was signed. This is a day remembered in the Japanese-American community for the disruption of lives up and down the west coast, the settlement of thousands into internment camps, and the diaspora that followed.

It is worth remembering here.


It is also remembered in Daily Messages on the Williams Website:

Executive Order 9066
On this day in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Exec. Order 9066, authorizing “removal of resident enemy aliens”, to what were described as “military areas”. U.S. citizens or not, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned in these camps, ruining lives and livelihoods in the process. MORE: from Rebecca Ohm, Williams College Libraries

An informed reader adds this:

There was a national effort started in 1942 to get Japanese-American students from the internment camps to colleges that would accept them in the midwest and east. It was initially organized with the help of the Friends Service Committee and John Nason (then President of Swarthmore and later President of Carleton College in the 1960s) was tapped to head the operation from 1942 to 1945.

(Nason’s LA Times obituary with considerable detail on his relocation efforts.
“Nason was chairman of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, formed in early 1942, a few months after America entered the war.
It was started by the heads of several West Coast colleges who were distressed that the military roundup of people of Japanese descent was disrupting the higher education of thousands of students.
Resisting widespread prejudice, Nason helped convince colleges and universities in the East and Midwest to accept the Japanese American students.
Under his guidance, the council painstakingly matched students and campuses, advised them on majors, arranged transportation and provided chaperons to shepherd them to their new schools, which often were in small towns with few, if any, Japanese faces.”

Anyone with stories or additional facts, please add to this post!

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